MK THUNDER’S fans were treated to a thrilling encounter on Saturday as the Cardiff Devils grabbed a dramatic late equaliser to seal a 3-3 draw.
After two wins and two defeats from the opening two weekend’s of the new English National League campaign, the city side only faced one game and after leading late on were disappointed to pick up their first draw of the season.
Thunder netminder Dave Cassidy and Cardiff stopper Mike Brabon were called into action early as the two sides traded chances through the opening period. Eventually it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when Stephen Deacon redirected Jason Stone’s shot past Cassidy.
Devils’ lead was short-lived however as Thunder hit back less than a minute later through winger Martyn Snape. An incisive breakout pass by Jamie Randall sent Maros Stefanco racing forward and his crisp pass then picked out Snape at the back post for a simple tap in.
The home side were now firmly in their stride and wasted little time after the first intermission as Randall found the back of the net with just 14 seconds of the second period gone.
Thunder began to dominate but the visitors held firm and rode their luck before Grant Richardson was able to find an equaliser late in the period.
Thunder took the lead for the second time at 53.03 when the Goode brothers, Connor and Harrison, combined and the latter fired home to give Thunder the lead once again.
They continued to push forward and seemed to have score a decisive fourth goal just minutes later when Stefanco’s shot was initially saved by Devils goalie Brabon, but looped up into the air and bounced in. However, the referee ruled the goal out on the grounds that there was a player in the goaltenders crease.
With just over a minute remaining Cardiff called a time out and opted to withdraw Brabon in favour of having six skaters as they desperately looked for an equaliser. And with 24 seconds left they got it, with Adam Harding scoring.
Netminder Cassidy won his second man of the match award of the season for his efforts on the night, and he will need to be in form again this Saturday when Thunder travel to Isle of Wight to face Wightlink Raiders.